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  5. "Half of the French want it."

"Half of the French want it."

Translation:La metà dei francesi lo vuole.

July 8, 2013



In English, "group" is a collective noun and can be either singular or plural, as MikeLyons85 points out. Half a group shares this usage, but usually "half" of a group is plural (unless it is a "group" of only two or is referred to as an entity). The use of a singular verb is a logical fallacy, and therefore ungramatical. But in Italian "la metà" is always a singular entity, not a "count" word. English has a similar usage in mathematics: we say "half of four IS two," just Italian says "La metà di quatro È due." Italian always uses "metà" in this way. The word has a plural form ("le metà), which can be used in phrases like "Le due metà della mele sono uguale" (The two halves of the apple are alike), but each half is singular, just as "La metà dei francesi" is singular.

It may help to remember that "metà" also has the sense of "midpoint/half-way-point/middle" which is unequivocally singular in both Italian and English.


So what is the difference between metà and mezzo, both meaning half?


As it seems rather complicated I refer to this excellent post: https://blogs.transparent.com/italian/meta%E2%80%99-or-mezza/


That was very helpful, thanks!


But the subject is actually the french, not "half." The French are the ones that want it, so why would it be vuole in that case instead of vogliono?


Grammatically speaking, "La metà" is the subject of the sentence, and "i francesi" is the object of the preposition "di" (with "di i" contracting to "dei"). The verb "vuole" needs to agree with "La metà".


For folks that are confused with meta vs. mezzo I fond this. http://blogs.transparent.com/italian/meta%E2%80%99-or-mezza/


Actually "la meta" is the subject which in Italian is singular. Not in English, I agree. The subject cannot be part of a prepositional phrase "of the French"


Why can't i use cio here?


i wrote "la meta dei franchese lo vuole" why franchesi instead of franchese


Is "La metà dei francesi lo vogliono" not right?


Half of the French people is a lot of people but they are still only one entity.

One half want it = La metà lo vuole
Both halves want it = Lo vogliono entrambe le metà


I believe you have identified the crux of the matter nicely. The Italian "la metà di" is best thought of as "the one half of" something. So it is singular, even if what it subdivides is plural.
The one half of an apple, would be a singular apple half (equal slice). The one half of a million people would be a singular group of 500,000 people.


Out of curiosity I tried "ci vuole" but it was not correct. Is "ci" used as "it" with certain verbs only?


No, I disagree. The subject is "half of the French", which is plural (they/them) therefore it should take vogliono not vuole.


No. Subject is la matà.


Oops, pressed reply too soon! You would not be able to replace "Half the French" with a singular pronoun and still make sense.

[deactivated user]

    I don't know if there's actually a pronoun, but we use this sort of phrase in English often in the singular.
    Ex: Half the crowd IS in the stadium and the other half IS waiting to get in.


    Half of the French would still be plural. ?? And the verb in the original is plural "want it"


    In British English, collective nouns can be either singular or plural, depending on context. "The government has decided" means that there is one view that has been agreed, and that has been announced. "The team were so disorganised" means that the individuals were all over the place and not pulling together. Here "La metà" clearly refers to millions of individuals, so the verb is correctly plural in English.

    [deactivated user]

      Is the plural of people (or french people) automatically masculine or can this sentence also be written as "La metà delle francese lo vuole"


      what does this have to do with travel? 😕


      But the Duolingo dictionary says: meta dei francesi lo vogliono

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